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5 Agile Boards Used By Non-Developers

BoardIf you follow this blog, Agile application in industries other than software development is nothing new. However, while I often discuss on how to apply the methods in various situations, i have not before actually shown you how it look s in real life.

Agile is beautiful in the sense that it can literally take any form as long as it remains true to the key values. But when you are just starting out with the method it may be difficult to go beyond the traditional 3 columns of To Do, Doing and Done.

In order to inspire and get your own creativity going, here are 5 Agile boards used in traditional departments outside software development.

The web of HR

No good company functions without its employees and it all starts with HR. Taking a web form, this Agile board example comes from Jennifer at TranspireLife. Here, every pizza slice represents a different job position and each of the lines stand for a step in the hiring process. Once there is a vacancy, candidate cards are added to the specific part of the web and moved towards the center as they pass through interviews and other steps.

The procurement board

Procurement processes are important but can get confusing easily, especially when there are multiple projects and people involved. That is why this procurement team worked out a system of their own. Using the basic idea of Agile, they have listed all the ongoing projects on the left of the board arranging them according to the responsible team member and limiting each team members WIP to 7. The columns on this board represent weeks and help track the duration of each project.

This is done using Lego – the color representing procurement stage and the size representing estimated duration. Each week the Lego is moved forward and once that stage is done, the final duration is written on the brick and moved back to week one stacking the next stage Lego on top of it. This way keeping track of expected vs. real time spent and visually tracking all the projects.

The design board

This next Lego board from Vitamins brings us to the design department. Here the board takes on a more visual approach resembling a calendar –  rows represent months and columns are dedicated to days. Each project is given a different color and the sub-rows in each moth are assigned to a specific team member. Due to the specificity of the design department the tasks do not need to be as detailed in the board and instead it is more important to know what the team is working on and which projects are the focus at any given moment.

The collaboration of Finances, Operations and HR

While it is difficult to adapt Scrum in various departments, with mixed functionalities the task becomes even more challenging. That is exactly the case with this board from MetaGeek where Finances, Operations and HR are all one team. Due to the complex processes, the team decided to stick with the basics –  a physical board and 3 clear columns that allow tracking progress and who is working on what. As a result, the teams claim they have started collaborating more and now see how their responsibilities relate clearly.

Executive Add-On

Lastly,  no company is complete without an executive office and analyzing each teams board to understand the overall progress is not something they want to spend time on. This team has found a solution for that – an epic arc, an additional lane that represents on how far the team has advanced.

Once the team starts working on the epic, they clarify tasks and add them to the backlog. Tasks are color coordinated with the epic and move through the board as usual. Instead of staying in the backlog, the epic is moved along the arc, which is comprised of the traditional project stages like planing, in progress and done. This way giving both the team and the management the information they need.

 

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Has Your Team Become Agile Zombies?

zombies

By now, Agile is synonymous with change and improvement. Teams are practicing it to be better, create according to customer needs and to deliver faster. However, is taking on the methodology of improvement enough? Or are you still facing a risk of failing?

Christiaan Verwijs has a definite answer to this question and that is Zombie Scrum. Extensively discussed in this article it talks about teams that adopt the technology and seem to successfully practice it, but in reality are all but Scrum zombies failing to unleash the full power of Scrum and hurting themselves in the process.

Does your team fall into this category? Here are the symptoms to check!

#1 No Beating Heart

On the surface all Scrum teams work to the same beat of Sprints – each one is planned, executed and finished delivering value at the end. As such it is the beating heart of the operation that drives the team forward and makes improvements happen. But what if this is only the facade?

If you have a Zombie Scrum team on your hands, the Sprint effectiveness only seems real. Once you look a little deeper, the differences are obvious – there is no value delivered after each iteration, product is often nonfunctional and Sprint review is not an actual demo, but rather screenshots and PowerPoint presentations on what should/has been done. Instead of a beating heart, these teams just go through the motions without any effect.

#2 No Contact With The Outside World

Ideally the Scrum team works to deliver value and to get feedback from their environment. It helps the team grow and improve the product in order to get the desired effect. Zombies are quite different.

Still stuck in the linear way of project management, they focus on their part of the job and while imagining themselves as only a small part of a big process, avoid responsibility at all costs. This means that a team with zombie fever is much more likely to avoid interactions with other teams in the company, shift blame and organize sprint reviews without any stakeholders present.

#3 No Emotional Response To Sprint Outcome

Stemming from the isolation comes another important part of Agile – reacting to the results. A healthy team will celebrate wins and analyze losses in order to see what can and should be done differently in the future. Contrary to that Zombies actually do not care about the Sprint outcome.

Whether it is a success or a failure they face, they simply move onto the next Sprint without any reaction. Whichever outcome it is they face, makes little to no difference to the team. This is often due to a never there Product Owner and isolation from other people in the project. Zombies simply do their job and don’t even bother with results.

#4 No Drive To Improve

Lastly, all of Agile is based on improving and adding value. It is the end goal and the main reason why people practice the method.

However, a team that is just going through the motions and is stuck with a hardly present product owner and Scrum master, often fall into the cycle of not caring. There is no joy, no motive and it seems no need to improve or change anything, rather than just completing tasks and not not giving it an extra thought. Is is a path that not only doesn’t yield results, but also creates a false image of Agile not being effective at what it is created to do.

Recognize your team in any of these traits? There is still time to change the way you practice Scrum and improve for the better!

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Scrum User Cheat Sheet

Cheat-Sheet-bannerJust started applying Scrum and still find it difficult to understand all of the different terms and rules? The two different backlogs, roles, meetings and everything else is quite confusing at first. However, there is no need to worry as I am here to help!

Grab this handy cheat sheet and enjoy quick Scrum facts for your convenience.

Scrum-Cheat-Sheet

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Top 10 Questions About Scrum and Their Answers

Scrum-FAQ

Undoubtedly, there is no lack of information about Scrum and how it should be used. Articles, to do lists, mistakes, user cases and anything else you might think of can be reached in minutes. However, when you are just coming into a new approach and learning its ways, you will most likely have certain questions and struggle to find the answers.

To help you out in this situation, here are the most common questions new users have about Scrum and their answers.

Is Scrum Agile?

This is one of the most frequent questions from new practitioners and one that cannot be answered with a single yes or no. Scrum is part of the Agile family, as it is one of the frameworks used to realize Agile rules and principles in real life projects. Other Agile applications, such as Kanban, XP and others are simply other frameworks used to bring Agile values to life. So yes, Scrum is Agile but Agile is not just Scrum, it is much more.

Should I choose Scrum?

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All You Need To Know About: Scrum

Agile process

This week I continue with our article roundup – an effort to provide you with all our knowledge in one convenient place. After the two previous posts on project management and agile, I thought it would be time to go a little deeper and this time we are talking about Scrum. Yup, the basics, roles, estimations and anything else you might be looking for, I’ve got it right here.

Basics

No Scrum project can be started without knowing what you are doing and while you may have already read all that goes into the practice, actually doing it is different. Check out Getting Started With Scrum Task Board to set up your first board, read Frequent dilemma: what sprint duration is best for your team to figure out what sort of a sprint duration to choose and pick out the scrum cards for you with The 4 Scrum Cards To Consider.

Once you are all set up and the actual work begins, learn how to write your first user stories with the help of Writing Effective User Stories for Scrum and choose the best way to estimate work by Estimating in story points compared to hours.

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Building Your Next Sprint With Eylean Board

1. Visual board1

Building a sprint is not only a difficult but also a very important task. You need to identify the priorities and set realistic goals for the whole team at the same time providing a meaningful result in the end. So there is no surprise many struggle in the beginning and even the most experienced Scrum Masters sometimes run into trouble.

While there are no definite guarantees against anything in this world it is always better to face uncertainty prepared and sure in your processes. This is exactly what Eylean Board goal is and here are 5 ways planning your next sprint with our tool will make you not only more sure of your process, but also happier.

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What Makes A Scrum Master

trainerComing into the Agile world, we not only encounter new rules and practices, but also gain new roles to enforce them. Some of them are quite clear, like being a team member and completing tasks to add incremental value to the process. Others are a little less self-explanatory and require a deeper understanding and training in Agile. One of the most misunderstood roles is the one of a Scrum Master. While this is one of the most important ones for the Scrum team, it often gets neglected or reduced due to the lack of knowledge and experience. So what should a Scrum master be? Let’s see.

Scrum Master is defined as a person who is accountable for removing impediments to the ability of the team to deliver the product goals and deliverables. In other words, it is not about being a traditional team leader, but more about being a guide for the team to navigate difficulties and achieve success. It is in fact because the Scrum Masters role is hardly found within any other project management approaches rather than Agile, that it makes it difficult to understand and easy to misinterpret by those new to the approach.

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The Best Agile Articles Of 2016 (Part 2)

BEST-OF

This is the second part of the favorite Eylean articles of 2016. The top 5 brings us back to the beginning of Agile application, a lot of great advice on how to make sure you succeed as well and a nice example that it is not for software developers alone.

Keep on reading to find out more!

 

5th place – Choose The Right Agile Method

Agile methodologies might seem tricky, especially if you are choosing one for the first time. See what the key differences between the different options are and choose the right one based on the type of work you do.

Choose-Agile-method for posting

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The Best Agile Articles Of 2016 (Part 1)

BEST-OF

As the holiday season and the New Year approach, I wanted to take some time and review your favorite Agile articles of 2016. Maybe you’ve read them all already or maybe there is still something new and exciting to learn.

Without any further ado lets dive in.

 

10th place – Top 5 Most interesting Scrumban Boards

Learn all about the creative and clever ways to organize your Scrumban boards. These teams are certainly doing it right.

Source: Drew

Source: Drew

 

9th place – The Ultimate Agile Guide

The inside look into the way Agile functions, how to choose the right approach and not to fail during the first week. Enjoy the tips & tricks gathered from our experience.

blog

 

8th place – Agile Hierarchy – How Are The Methods Related?

Ever wondered how all of the Agile methods relate to each other? From which method, did another evolve? We have all of your answers in one nice Agile family tree.

Agile-Hierarchy for posting

 

7th place – Transitioning to Agile: Running Effective Meetings

When transitioning to Agile it may be difficult to grasp what counts as an effective meeting. Instead of wondering if you are doing a good job, take a look here and know for sure.

Startup Stock Photos

 

6th place – The SAFe Way To Scale Agile

Is your company ready to move Agile from small teams and into the company mindset? Learn all about scaling Agile with the SAFe method and see if it could be a solution for you.

SAF'e

To be continued with the top 5 articles next week – keep on reading the year is not over yet!

 

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Tips & Tricks On Using Agile

tips-tricksTaking on Agile can be a tough challenge, especially if you have no previous experience with it and have no one to coach you. The good news, however, are that all it takes is time and determination to take over and understand. To make that process more smooth for both you and your team, we came up 17 tips and tricks. Use them to reach your goals sooner and more easily.

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